Understanding Internships

Career Confidence for Credit

Internships are on-site (or virtual) work experience that may be during the summer or the academic year and should be directly related to your major or your career interest.​

Internships can be paid or unpaid. Over 60% of the internships in Handshake are paid. Internships can also be for credit, but do not have to be.

Internships for credit tend to be more substantive, involve work with a faculty member, and come with requirements about how many weeks/hours per week you must work, your academic standing at the university, etc. Internships without academic credit attached are done independent of school, can be short term, and focus on gaining experience.

Many internships are available only to currently enrolled students or alumni who have just graduated. Leverage the advantage of your connection to Mason and take advantage of resources available to you while you can!

The English Department at George Mason University encourages and supports students who wish to complete internships in writing, editing, publishing, and research.

Writing, editing, publication, and related research internships allow students to experience new workplaces and career options, meet mentors and new colleagues, develop abilities and knowledge that aren’t available in school, integrate academic and workplace learning, build their portfolios, and make themselves more desirable candidates for full-time, permanent employment.

The Washington, D.C. region, including Northern Virginia, abounds with such opportunities, and students who are motivated to find internships will find a very favorable hiring environment. GMU students are highly regarded by area employers; in the past, internship providers have included National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institution, the Red Cross, PBS, NPR, Northern Virginia magazine, the Washington Post, and USA Today, in addition to many other corporations, non-profit organizations, governmental departments and agencies, and media/entertainment outlets.

Support for Students

ENGH 459 (for undergraduates) and ENGH 504 (for graduate students) is a repeatable, variable-credit course that allows students the chance to receive credit in conjunction with internships. The course is designed to supplement the internship and consists of a series of journal entries and individual conferences with the department internship coordinator rather than conventional class meetings. Students are not required to take ENGH459/504 when completing an internship; however, many employers require that their interns receive credit from their home institution.

In addition to offering ENGH 459/504, the department also provides advice and guidance for students seeking internships. It is up to students to seek their own internships, but they are encouraged to speak with the department internship coordinator to discuss search strategies, professional protocols, and resume and cover letter writing. Students from any major or concentration are welcome.

This web page offers links to several resources related to internships, including information for interested students, for interested employers, and for Mason faculty and staff who want to encourage or offer internships. You will also find information about ENGH 459/504 and a list of organizations that have recently hosted or offered internships to GMU students.

Internship Resources from University Career Services

For students seeking an internship, University Career Services offers the following resources. 

Search for internships through Handshake

Make an appointment with University Career Services

Enroll in UNIV 320 Internship Readiness to help with your internship search

Apply for the Scholarship for Unpaid Internships through University Career Services if you can’t afford to take on an unpaid internship

With help from the Unpaid Internship Scholarship, psychology major Jennifer Lyon has been able to intern with the American Red Cross
With help from the Unpaid Internship Scholarship, psychology major Jennifer Lyon has been able to intern with the American Red Cross